Bromley RFC VS Aylesford Bulls RFC
BROMLEY HUFF AND PUFF BUT GET THE WIN
After a sold out President’s Lunch a large crowd assembled on the side lines to watch this clash between first and second in the league. There had been some doubt from Aylesford as to whether they would be able to provide opposition on the day but judging by the team they put out there was not much of a crisis. After the initial sparring Bromley started to get territorial advantage and on six minutes the composed Griffiths knocked over a penalty from about thirty five yards. Shortly afterwards the influential Haisell had to retire with a knock to his knee which was restricting his movement. On trotted the livewire Saunders who announced himself a few minutes later with a barnstorming run scattering defenders in his wake. On eighteen minutes the home side were awarded another penalty which was slotted. Aylesford had been very competitive up to this point without being particularly threatening but they began to build up a head of steam with Bromley having to defend in their twenty two. Eventually they turned the ball over but a poor kick out of defence, not helped by the strong crosswind, was run back leading to a scrum to the away team and more pressure, another scrum and the ball from this was worked out to the left wing for a score with the conversion missed in windy conditions. Twenty five minutes in and one point separating the teams.
The home side responded with a sustained period of intense pressure and Aylesford conceded two penalties leading to Griffiths kicking another penalty. Like a good side Aylesford fired a few shots of their own and pinned Bromley back but just when it looked like the opposition were going to score again winger Powell somehow got hold of the ball and shot up the right hand touchline on a seventy metre lung burster. With the crowd roaring him home the away right winger came charging across the pitch and executed a superb covering tackle a few yards short of the line. However Bromley were now in prime position and from the subsequent lineout the pack delivered a perfect catch and drive for the try. Goodness knows who scored as all the forwards were over the line. No conversion. Mixed up in all this was a yellow card to Aylesford. They restarted play and after a few phases were awarded a penalty close to the halfway but their ten could not find the posts from there and it was 14-5 to Bromley but it had been a struggle against dogged and well organised opposition.
The home side started the second half in the ascendancy and had Aylesford under the cosh and after five minutes the Bromley pack again rumbled over the line en masse with the scorer being a mystery to most people watching including me. No conversion. Shortly after there was a bit of a commotion in the Bromley half leading to the angelic Brown and his slightly more careworn opposite number having to spend 10 minutes chatting to their mates on the touchline. Disappointing from a Bromley perspective as a penalty was awarded against them and three points gifted just as there were looking to take control. However this did not deter the home side and they got back to work with Saunders making another devastating break but his team could not capitalise. On sixty one minutes there was a terrific passage of play by the forwards, lead by Houghton, with individual runners crashing through tackles bringing Bromley right under the posts and a try looked nailed on. Oh no. Aylesford turn them over and broke out of defence and released their backs but Bromley just about managed to snuff out the danger. There was a bit of tension from those watching on as Bromley could not seem to put the game to bed and Aylesford had the players to make them pay. Another opportunity came along on sixty eight minutes when good interplay in the backs gave Powell another opportunity to have a long run for the line but again he was denied just short of the line. Could he have passed to his supporting team mate. Who knows?
Five minutes later and Bromley were back bashing away at the away side’s line but their covering and tackling was superb. Eventually scrum half George Scott got his hands on the ball and instead of his usual tricks he just got his head down and barged his way over with Griffiths converting. Bromley supporters relaxed and breathed as that was the game and a little time to go in search of the bonus point. Aylesford were having none of that and attacked in waves leading Bromley to defend desperately but in the last play of the game their fly half launched a crossfield kick which was secured by their winger who rode a couple of tackles and slipped a pass to a prop who crashed over near the posts for a converted try. Mixed up in this period was an astonishing bit of play by full back Hawkins who juggled a ball around the halfway line ending up with his back to the opposition and he turned skipped past a couple of tackles and headed off towards the try line with nobody in sight. How did he not score. Rumour has it he tripped and fell over – surely not. The last three games Bromley have had a try scored against them at the death – hopefully not a trend that continues – albeit those games were already won. Final whistle and Bromley win 26-13. It is also worth noting that the game was excellently refereed by Mr Simon Goatcher who has a real grasp of the laws of the game as some players and spectators found out.
In the last couple of weeks Bromley first team have played some of their best rugby of the season against an excellent Cranbrook side and a difficult local derby versus Dunstonians but this game was much more of a struggle and an arm wrestle. Plaudits for this go to Aylesford who squeezed Bromley very hard in the set pieces and denied them time and space in the backs. Bromley did not play badly and their constant turning over of the ball at the breakdown was great and they deserved the result but aspects of their performance will not have pleased them with the concession of so many penalties an irritation. Another irritation was a couple of moronic noises coming from one or two people watching as their fly half was taking the final conversion. As they say respect the kicker and the game. This is not football and we are better than that.
Next week the first team have a deserved week off before they resume away at Gillingham. Some of the boys picked up a few, hopefully, minor knocks including Tommy Scott (yes that is George’s brother} who was rubbing his head but his parting seemed intact. Over on pitch two the seconds welcomed Southwark Lancers for a friendly fixture. The club was delighted to welcome them and in a highly entertaining fixture the home side triumphed 43-10. The third team had a merit table fixture but for the second week running the team they were supposed to be playing apparently do not exist. At present the twos and threes are looking for games next week and hopefully we can get them out and playing. After the game the clubhouse was heaving and it was great to see the opposition staying and enjoying the experience.